Just one of the many magical things about vacationing in Ireland is that within minutes you can travel from the bustling center of the city to a historic, luxurious country retreat. The Culloden Estate and Spa, an 1800s Gothic mansion, located six miles outside Belfast is one of these great destination resorts.

“Built for a bishop, fit for a king,” over the past hundred years the Culloden has proved itself one of the most luxurious hotels in Ireland. A five-star resort, it boasts of 90 deluxe bedroom suites, self-catering apartments, six private banqueting suites, leisure facilities and an eight-treatment-room spa. Set on the wooded slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the County Antrim coastline, this historic opulent resort will certainly take you away from all the stresses of the world.

The house was built for, Justice of the Peace and Member of Parliament, Will Auchinleck Robinson, in 1876. Robinson carefully chose his site in Cultra, within the townland of Craigavad, conscious of the fact that the eastern side of Belfast Lough had certain climatic advantages. The site benefited from the shelter of the Holywood Hills, and the cold north and northeasterly winds seemed to lose their strength as they crossed the expanse of the Lough before reaching Craigavad. Consequently, the locality’s temperature was about three degrees higher than in Belfast city.

He named the property “Culloden House,” in honor of his wife, Lady Elizabeth Jane Culloden. Robinson died in 1884 and the property was conveyed by Lady Culloden to the representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland. At the end of the 19th century Culloden House became the official residence of the Church of Ireland Bishop of the Diocese, and was known as the Bishop’s Palace.

During the 1920s, the Church sold Culloden House to the late Sir John Campbell, a celebrated Belfast gynecologist and Member of Parliament. In April 1959, Culloden House was purchased from Sir John’s son, Robert Campbell for the sum of £10,000 by Ulster farmer, Thomas C. Reid, who was then Chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association. The house then was bought in 1962 by Rutledge White of White’s Home Bakery Limited, and was opened as a hotel, comprising of 11 bedrooms the following year, under the management of White’s son-in-law, Mr Roberts.

The Hastings Hotels Group purchased the premises in June 1967, and over the course of the years, under the enlightened direction of Billy Hastings, the Culloden has been transformed in size and luxury. It is of course pleasing that the extensions have not detracted from the hand-cut stonework of the original building, and the chapel which was dedicated over a hundred years ago, is today used as the hotel’s bar.

The hotel is also the first choice of any VIPs coming to Belfast including Dolly Parton, Shirley McClaine, Bono, Kenneth Brannagh, the English Football team captained by David Beckham, the French Football team and the Irish Rugby Team.

This destination resort is certainly fit for a king and a stay here would make any staycation or vacation in Ireland all that little more magical.

For more about Culloden visit www.hastingshotels.com/culloden-estate-and-spa.